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Tamales Wrapped in Banana Leaves?

Can anyone point me to a good tamale vendor that makes the ones wrapped in green banana leaves - VERY different from the "Nortena" kind you find everywhere that come wrapped in corn husks. The ones we used to eat in Caracas made with dark yellow masa filled with chicken, pork, olives and raisins (sounds strange, tastes AWESOME). Thanks for any leads, either local SoCal area or mail order.

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  1. I've been asking for YEARS where to find hallacas navideñas. Hopeless.

    I'd take a plane to Maiquetía anytime, believe me, if it were not for the broken viaducto...

    1. Mama's Hot Tamales Cafe, on 7th/Alvarado near MacAuthur Park.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Renault78law

        The banana leaf-wrapped tamales at Mama's Hot Tamales have always left me especially cold. With the exception of the Oaxacan black mole tamales, the banana leaf ones Mama's sells are in the Central American style, the type with a mushy, flavorless masa that tastes like a wad of insipid gruel with boiled meat in it. Yuck. The descriptions may sound tasty, but the reality is only the corn husk ones are good there.


      2. The only time I can get these is when a student's parents make some home made. These are my favorites as well. If anyone knows of a place closer to Long Beach or OC, please tell!

        1. Taco Mesa (several OC locations) has them this time of year (beef, pork, chicken or veggie)

          1. the venezuelan variety? i dunno
            but gueleguetza on 8th and probably olympic has oaxaqueno style tamales with mole wrapped in banana leaves.
            (the arepa place on canon in beverly hills might have the venezuelan variety as a special. can't remember the name - but worth a try, )

            1 Reply
            1. re: Jerome

              Coupa Café ? They have arepas, no hallacas, much less hallacas navideñas.

            2. This is probably a stretch, but I've had plate dinner yucatan banana leaf tamales at "gracianas" in san fernando. Small little mexican restaurant on glenoaks/hubbard. Its a special, not available everyday though. I dunno if you're looking for large orders to go, or if this is even near you. Its a good local joint, not worth a long drive though.

              1. They are not venezualan but I would go to the Flor de Yucatan bakery on the weekend.

                1. Thanks, everyone for the tips - I'll try a few and let you know how they were. But it looks like next December I'll throw a big Hallaca and Pan de Jamon making party and sell the extras :-) Feliz Navidad

                  1. Liborio's grocery store at 8th St. and Vermont Ave. in L. A. I once read in the L. A. Times that at holiday time, they sell tamales made as they're made in different countries, Mexico and Central America. I went once and there were several. I'm thinking of going again. Also, Gloria's Cafe in Culver City has very good tamales from either El Salvador or Guatamala. I buy pork.